The Top 5 Leading Causes of Death for Children up to 4 Years in High Income Countries

  Cause of Death Number of Deaths Percentage of Total
1 Birth Asphyxia and Birth Trauma 10,112 24.89%
2 Congenital Heart Anomalies 8,896 21.90%
3 Low Birth Weight 8,764 21.57%
4 Road Traffic Injuries 2,088 5.14%
5 Lower respiratory infections 1,935 4.76%
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 Facts
  1. The primary causes of death in the first 28 days of life are premature birth, asphyxia, and infections. Birth asphyxia is a major child health issue and is responsible for over one million deaths annually. It is estimated that each year over a million children who survive birth asphyxia develop problems such as cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and other disabilities. The risk of a mother dying of pregnancy-related conditions is more than 200 times higher in the lowest-income countries than in the highest-income countries.
  2. Congenital Heart Anomalies are the most common serious birth defects of genetic or partially genetic origin. Congenital heart anomalies are more or less random events and the incidence of cardiac birth defects has remained constant - at 7 to 8 cases for every 1000 live births - across time and continents.
  3. Every year, more than 20 million low-birth weight babies are born in developing countries. These babies have a high risk of dying in infancy, while in developed countries such as the United States, low birth-weight infants often face increased risks of physical and mental problems in their teenage years.
  4. 1.2 million people worldwide are estimated to be killed each year on the world's roads (more than 3000 people every day). By the year 2020, unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to rise overall by about 65%. Low and middle income countries account for more than 80% of global deaths from road traffic accidents. The global financial cost of road traffic injuries is estimated at 518 billion US dollars each year. Road traffic deaths are predicted to rise on average by more than 80% in low and middle income countries by 2020, while high income countries will continue to improve, with a 30% reduction in road deaths compared with 1990.
  5. Most victims of Lower respiratory infections are under five years of age. The leading killer is pneumonia, which accounted for 19% of all deaths for children under five in 2005. Acute lower respiratory infections killed 3.9 million people in 1996.
Tags: Health Statistics, High Income Countries

Sources:  WHO report: Injury, a Leading Cause of the Global Burden of Disease 2000. WHO, World Bank.

List Notes: All Statistics are for the year 2000. This WHO study combines mortality and health data from national vital registration systems with information obtained from surveys, censuses,epidemiological studies and health service data.
Leading Causes of Death for Children up to 4 Years in High Income Countries

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